Aide Decries Mix of Religion and Violence

Says Fundamentalism Among Humanity’s Most «Dramatic Dangers»

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 30, 2008 ( A Vatican spokesman says the bloody attacks in Mumbai last week cause both «human» and «religious» worry for believers.

«It is terrible that in today’s world, religion mixes with violence,» Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, said on the most recent edition of Vatican Television’s «Octava Dies.»

«The deadly gravity and the clear intention to strike at the heart of a great country brought to mind Sept. 11 in New York, then Madrid and London,» the spokesman lamented. «The tensions and conflicts that have disturbed the Indian subcontinent for some time are deliberately identified as a critical point working to bring about an even more frightening conflagration, whose consequences are hard to imagine, given southern Asia’s demographic dimensions and its role in global development.

«[S]orrow for the victims of these recent days intensifies to the thought of the immense sorrow that senseless and cool-headed exponents of hatred want to multiply for countless persons.»

At least 174 people were killed in a series of terrorist attacks that lasted two and a half days.

«For believers, human worry joins to religious worry,» Father Lombardi suggested. «We recall the old tensions that led to the division between India and Pakistan.»

The Jesuit priest noted the persistent and perhaps growing currents of fundamentalism among Muslims and Hindus of this region.

«A few years ago there was a wave of anti-Muslim violence in India,» and «now recently we experienced a wave of anti-Christian violence in some areas,» he said. «In a country in which the Muslim ‘minority’ numbers 140 million persons, what can the reactions to this attack be, which is presented as Islamic in origin?»

«Fundamentalism is one of the most dramatic dangers of humanity and it challenges the conscience of every religious person,» Father Lombardi said.

Recalling the plea of Pope John Paul II and the messages conveyed at the meeting of religious leaders for peace in Assisi, he said: «Violence cannot be used in the name of God.

«The cause of peace, the cause of man is the cause of the true God.»

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